Getting the most out of your email design

Millions of emails hit inboxes every day. While many companies are now well-versed at harnessing the power of email marketing, a large number still aren’t following simple steps to guarantee impact. As a result, they’re still missing out on the additional rewards that come from a little bit of fine-tuning.

From email experts to newbies just entering the industry, there are common design errors that are occurring time and time again. Perhaps it’s because you need results fast, or maybe you’re not aware of some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to designing your email campaigns.  

We’ve put together 10 simple steps to follow to get the most out of your email design. These will strengthen your campaign deliverability and help your campaigns to achieve more. If you don’t do anything else, take note and take action.  

1.) Personalization 

Nobody enjoys being addressed by “Hi there” or “Dear Customer”. When I get an email that says “Hi Jenna” I’m more likely to engage with it. By directly addressing the recipients, you’re likely to see a higher open and click-through rate. To do this simply use the ‘insert action’ feature in Engagement Cloud’s Campaign Editor. Select the field (FIRSTNAME). It will appear in your campaign as @FIRSTNAME@.  

A simple trick with effective results.  

2.) Data 

The quickest way to reduce your deliverability and get blacklisted is by buying and selling data. Your emails will quickly get flagged as spam and as your emails pile up in the junk/spam folder or lost in hyper-space, no-one will open your emails. The most effective campaigns are sent to your existing customers and organically grown, opted in lists

Growing mailing lists can be accelerated with the use of engaging, or even gamified popovers.  

3.) Back to basics 

Emails don’t need to be complicated. A simple structure and a main header for your logo works well for most brands. This should be followed by the main content with a single key message, obvious CTAs, followed by a footer with company details and the required legal information.  Remember the simpler the less chance of something going wrong in different web browsers or email clients. 

4) Optimization 

Every email you send needs to be optimized for every device. With customers able to access emails on multiple devices, if your emails aren’t rendering properly, you’re going to missing out on some big opportunities. Using multiple columns in your design is a no-no as these may not display correctly on smaller phone screens. And, if you’re using an image and text block, you need to check images are stacking correctly before you hit send.   

5) Preference centers 

The modern consumer wants to feel in control of their relationship with a brand. As a result, you’ll get much better engagement from your email marketing campaigns. Make sure that every email you send contains a link to your preference center or allows shoppers to access their account to update their preferences.  

6) Images 

The biggest thing to remember (and do!) is to avoid background images. Most email clients like Gmail and Hotmail don’t render them and display a grey block instead.  Also, never rely on visual artwork to be the main way to communicate your message in an email campaign. Some big images will be turned off or appear as a blank email. This can cause your contact to think you’ve sent them a blank email and hit delete or the spam button. 

It’s therefore essential you use alt tags, and keep copy and CTAs separate.  

7) Phishing links 

Phishing links cause distrust in your email campaigns. They’re mainly caused when the whole URL is present in an email. For example http//:www.dotdigital.com.

Place your links behind copy, actions, and images, to encouraging your contacts to click through. 

8) Spacers 

White space is important when building your email. It helps ensure your emails have an uncluttered layout and are easier for the brain to absorb. By adding spacers between blocks and images it is easier for skim readers to differentiate what it is seeing with ease. 

9) Alt Tags 

A large number of email clients still automatically disable images when an email lands in the inbox. By making sure every image has an alt tag description is the best way to ensure your message maintains impact even when images are off. If they have an idea of what you are trying to say, they’re more likely to enable links and images in the future. 

10) Test, test, and test again 

This is probably the most important step to constructing an email. Testing allows you to view your campaign in the email clients but also the web version in a browser. This will allow you to check consistency across ISP and email clients and fix any rendering issues that occur before you send your email. 


Keep reading

Email mistakes to avoid blog
Email best practice blog
Make email design great

5 simple tips for a winning Black Friday campaign

With less than one week to go, grab some last-minute inspiration for your campaigns this Black Friday. You never know, you could be missing a trick or five!

5 ways email and social can help each other out

Discover five ways to combine the power of email and social. Learn how to acquire customers smarter and target them better across channels.

What is customer engagement and why is it important?

And, better yet, how do we do it?   Customer engagement has been a buzzword for a while now. The internet is packed with articles about creating ‘meaningful customer engagement’. At dotdigital, we’re guilty of it too. As a customer…

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site you agree to these cookies being set. To find out more see our cookies policy.